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November 22, 2005

From Sony's Site

Michael Mandel

I was looking at Sony's own posting on its copy protection mess, and came on this interesting tidbit:

On slower machines, especially ones running Windows 98 and Windows ME, the player may consume a high amount of CPU cycles even if it is not playing back audio. If you experience audio playback problems try quitting out of other open applications.

Oh. Hard to believe.

10:40 AM

Tech

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I increasingly think there is such a thing as an overall corporate intelligence factor, analogous to what is claimed for the "G" factor in human intelligence.

Posted by: David Foster at November 22, 2005 11:16 AM

That's good. I wonder if corporations can get smarter or stupider.

Posted by: Mike Mandel at November 22, 2005 11:45 AM

When I try to assess whether a company is a smart company or a dumb company, I find that it maps pretty well to whether it is a growth company (like Microsoft, Apple, and Google), or whether it is a mature company (like every member of the RIAA, most media companies, and IBM).

One of the striking things about big mature companies is that they start to acquire a lot of the characteristics of socialist states- they provide an ever-increasing scale of worker benefits, they favor seniority over ability for advancement, and they tend to discourage innovation or any disruptive technologies.

It's clear that SonyBMG have elected to solve their small problem (home pirates are nothing compared to the scale of commercial pirates in China and Eastern Europe) with a modern-day Smoot-Hawley act- they've managed to make a somewhat bad situation immensely worse. If they are found to have committed criminal acts here, the liability is enormous: as many as 20,000,000 CD's have been distributed with one form or another of their spyware on it- 5 million XCP, 20 million Sunguard.

Sony was once a growth company; SonyBMG isn't- and should probably be divested as soon as possible to shed both liability and brand baggage.

Posted by: Tim Howland at November 22, 2005 12:07 PM

Divestiture might help solve the conflict between the hardware and software sides of Sony.

Posted by: Mike Mandel at November 22, 2005 12:25 PM

I don't think growth is necessarily a good proxy for corporate intelligence. Often, a company will be run very successfully by a founder, and will grow very well..up to the point where one individual can't make all the decisions. The founder will have hired people as "helpers" rather than as real executives, and the transition to multiple locuses of decision making will be very painful, if indeed it happens at all.

Posted by: David Foster at November 22, 2005 03:32 PM


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